the revolutionary vanguard

Zapatistas in Sombreros

The exhibition highlights an extraordinarily productive and diverse period in the history of Mexico.  A time when Mexico attracted large numbers of significant international artists and intellectuals who engaged with political changes taking place, and responded to the rich and varied country they found on arrival there.

These include photographers Paul Strand, Edward Weston and  Cartier-Bresson: and artists  Joseph Albers, Robert Cappa and Edward Burra

Mexico 1934 Henri Cartier-Bresson

Mexico 1934 Henri Cartier-Bresson

By Henri Cartier-Bresson

By Henri Cartier-Bresson

 

As Waldemar Januszczak says in his excellent article Sunday Times culture Magazine 7.7.13

To understand ‘the blurring between the real revolution and its cinematic echoes I urge you to read “Filming Pancho Villa: How Hollywood Shaped the Mexican Revolution, by Mararita de Orellana.’

With Los Angeles  a few hours across the border, the Mexican Revolution unfolded on Hollywood’s doorstep and became the first media war.

As Januszczak points out one must not forget one million people were killed in the revolution, and the cheapness of life is depicted in many of the photographs in the exhibition.

As Laura Cumming writes, in The Observer Review 07/07/13 .

” The Prints and photographs are the true stars of the show. Cartier-Bresson travelled through the country recording the street life of Mexico: itinerant musicians, cripples picking their way through the markets, prostitutes appearing like puppets above the half-doors to brothels.”

Prostitiute by Cartier Bresson

Prostitute, Calle Cuauhtemoctzin, Mexico 1934

There are paintings as well as photographs but because of the small amount of gallery space given to them, these are less focused and less successful than the photographs.

Emilio Zapata by Hugo Brehme 1911

Emilio Zapata by Hugo Brehme 1911

Portrait of Zapata by Diego Rivera

Portrait of Zapata by Diego Rivera

 

This exhibition is well worth visiting and there is an excellent catalogue written by Adrian Locke that you should purchase if you wish to know more about this fascinating period of History.

This exhibition is currently on at Royal Academy until 29th September 2013

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http://mexfest.mx/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/LMF-logos1.jpg

This weekend London is hosting London MexFest  a stage to showcase the best of contemporary Mexican culture as well as a framework to strengthen cultural ties and diplomatic and trade relations between Mexico and the United KingdomIt’s an experience that brings together film makers, actors, musicians, artists, photographers, designers, architects, chefs, journalists and film critics to present their work and exchange ideas with the intention of boosting bilateral cooperation across specific projects.

http://mexfest.mx/festival-sections/

 

 

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